Zine Philosophy

Why I write cookzines

By jae steele

or me, “it all vegan” six years ago on a little herb farm in Nova Scotia, when I fell in love with a vegan. He was charming, and passionate about wanting nothing to do with the consumption of animals–in the food he was eating or the belt that held up his pants. You’d think my conversion to more ethical eating habits would have been based in political action, but in truth, that came later. The boy soon left to work for an animal rescue organization in California, but the veganism stuck, and it changed my life–including the way I make zines.

Back in Toronto, some friends were starting up a queer environmental group. I offered to make a small cookzine as a fundraiser, with the 20 vegan recipes I’d mastered so far. I was already familiar with zine-making–I’d started a feminist health collective with some friends in high school and our first zine was born out of the necessity for a handout to accompany our menstruation workshops. Once we’d tapped into a zine community (and stopped calling the handout a booklet), we also created Beating Around the Bush, a zine about gender and sexual health. With my cookzine, Vegan Freegan, I discovered the joys of recipe sharing–dairy- and egg-free eating is still not commonplace enough, so vegans will snap up almost any resources they can get their hands on. At first, my zines included adaptations of other people’s recipes, but as I got more comfortable in the kitchen, I wrote my own. When I’d collected another 50 recipes, I put Vegan Freegan out again for a zine fair in Halifax. The zine sold out, and I ran back to Staples to make more.

The more I get into food–whether it’s devouring cookbooks like trashy romance novels or studying holistic nutrition–the more content I accumulate for my zines. Since that first cookzine, I’ve produced four issues of a publication called Ripe. I’ve made it my mission to create vegan baked goods that don’t taste vegan. You know what I’m talking about–muffins that bake up like hockey pucks, or cake that isn’t decadent enough to make you crave a second slice. I want to make the kind of information found in glossy food magazines available to the folks who wholeheartedly embrace all things D.I.Y., in a context that feels accessible to them.

I write pretty anecdotally because I want people to feel like we’re chatting in their kitchen together. Despite a (short) history of professional kitchen work, a big part of my food knowledge comes from trial and error in my own home. I swoon when I think about the hundreds (or thousands maybe? Who counts when you’re using the honour-system photocopiers at Staples?) of cookzines in kitchens around the world with ratty covers, pages popping out from under stapled bindings, spattered with squash soup or globs of peanut sauce. It thrills me to think that I tried something in my kitchen one afternoon, and by way of a zine, someone I don’t even know has recreated it for a road trip picnic or their kid’s birthday party.

I don’t think it’s about ego, but about a sense of connectedness. I worry that we shell out tonnes of cash to faceless big businesses that churn out additive-packed meals, and then raise our eyebrows at $3 organic broccoli at our local food co-op. In making my cookzines, I work to get in on a food-positive movement that encourages D.I.Y. cooking instead of insta-meals from a box; food that really nourishes us, that we can build communities around.

As any self-promoting zinester knows, zines aren’t always easily explained. “Oh, so it’s online?” someone will ask. I explain to them that I hardly know how to do anything on the computer. I cut ‘n’ paste them, literally, and assemble nice little booklets you can hold in your hand. I haven’t washed my hands of everything computery, though. Writing cookzines has led to a food-based weblog called Domestic Affair. The blog serves as instant gratification–it’s like zine writing, but I get to publish it immediately for thousands of people to see online. And one serves the other: my posts become the content of my zines, I sell my zines through my blog. While I love posting recipes online, it’s far easier (and less risky, I might add) to bring a zine into the kitchen than it is to bring a computer.

Over the years I have put in serious time as a zinestress. Frantically cutting and pasting the night before a zine fair, late nights at the copiers, followed by collating and long-armed stapling at the fair the next morning. It’s rare that I make any money off the things–we do it for love, right? On more than one occasion in my job as a childcare provider, I’ve strapped wee babes to my body, lined zine pages up on countertops, and walked circles around the kitchen to collate. It’s proven to be a great way to put kids to sleep, too.

With a couple hundred recipes in print now, my cookzines have become the building blocks for a full-fledged cookbook. I look forward to finding it a home with some hip, vegan-friendly publisher. While I love the place I’ve made for myself in zine culture, I now want someone to back me, to help get my work out into a wider world.

jae steele is a registered holistic nutritionist and writer of six veg cookzines. New recipes appear on her weblog, domesticaffair.ca, each and every Friday.

33

16 Responses to “Zine Philosophy”

  1. I’ve been browsing on-line greater than three hours today, but I by no means found any interesting article like yours. It is pretty price sufficient for me. In my opinion, if all webmasters and bloggers made just right content material as you probably did, the net shall be much more helpful than ever before. “Oh, that way madness lies let me shun that.” by William Shakespeare.

  2. I have been exploring for a little bit for any high-quality articles or weblog posts in this sort of space . Exploring in Yahoo I finally stumbled upon this site. Reading this information So i¡¦m happy to convey that I have an incredibly excellent uncanny feeling I came upon exactly what I needed. I most surely will make certain to do not omit this website and give it a look on a constant basis.

  3. The fantastic thing about these running a blog engines and CMS platforms is the lack of limitations and ease of manipulation that allows builders to implement rich content material and ‘skin’ the site in such a method that with very little effort one would by no means notice what it is making the positioning tick all without limiting content material and effectiveness.

  4. Hiya, I’m really glad I’ve found this information. Nowadays bloggers publish just about gossips and internet and this is actually irritating. A good web site with interesting content, this is what I need. Thank you for keeping this web-site, I’ll be visiting it. Do you do newsletters? Can not find it.

  5. I was just looking for this information for a while. After six hours of continuous Googleing, at last I got it in your site. I wonder what’s the lack of Google strategy that don’t rank this type of informative web sites in top of the list. Normally the top websites are full of garbage.

  6. canape lit says:

    Great amazing things here. I¡¦m very glad to look your post. Thanks so much and i’m having a look forward to contact you. Will you kindly drop me a e-mail?

  7. Do you mind if I quote a couple of your posts as long as I provide credit and sources back to your site? My website is in the very same niche as yours and my visitors would truly benefit from a lot of the information you provide here. Please let me know if this ok with you. Thanks a lot!

  8. ??????? ??????? ,??????????? ???? ,???? ???? ?????? ,???? ???? ,?????? ,?????? ,???? ???? ,???? ???? ,???? ???? ,???? ???? ,???? ???? ,???? ???? ,???? ???? ,???? ???? ,???? ???? ,????? ????? ,????? ????? ,????? ????? ,????? ????? ,????? ????? ,???? ????? ,???? ????? ,??????? ????? ,???? ????? ,???? ????? ,????? ?????? ,????? ??-??? ,??????? ,??????? ,??????? ,??????? ,??????? ,??????? ,??????? ,??????? ,??????? ,??????? ,??????? ,??????? ,??????? ,????? ????? ,????? ????? ,????? ????? ,????? ????? ,????? ?????

  9. I conceive this internet site holds some really wonderful info for everyone. “A kiss, is the physical transgression of the mental connection which has already taken place.” by Tanielle Naus.

x
3
Posts Remaining